This is a recap of Sunday's message which I thought I would share for those who were unable to attend.
When it comes to worship. we tend to focus on the actions involved, such as praying, singing, giving, etc. While these are a part of the whole, we are likely to go through the motions with little e-motion as to Whom we are worshipping. Ritual replaces the relationship and we engage with the congregation, but often dis-engage the attitude which is most essential in worship.
Reasons we attend church are varied. Some attend for the fellowship of friends while others are there simply out of habit, or obligation. Though reasons vary, most would agree that "Bretheren, We Have Met To Worship", but, do we really? I mean, do we really worship?
The word "worship" appears over 100 times in the KJV of the Bible and has various meanings which tend towards ideas of 'prostrating oneself before another in homage, to kiss the hand, to revere/adore, to gaze upon, to give honor, glory and praise".
Our text indicates that worship takes occurs in a place, has a particular mode of practice and purpose, and these are the things we tend to give the most attention to, but the real focus is on a Person...Jesus Christ and the attitude we have when engaging in worship.
The aim of worship is to glorify God. It is not so much in the pageantry as in the purpose of praise. My point is that we of often get caught up in what we are doing rather than on Whom we are to be worshipping. While music certainly has a place in the process, music is not the end in itself, yet, we often gauge worship by how the music appeals to us. The message from God's Word is also a form of worship, but we tend to determine whether the message was 'good' or not based on whether we 'got anything out of it'.
The point I am trying to make is that while there are many aspects that go into the worship experience, the bottom line is where our worship is focused. Worship is an offering to the Lord for Who He is and for What He has done for us and for What He is going to do. See Revelation 5:8-10 & 11:16-17.
Religious ritual without engaging the right attitude becomes empty and vain. Jesus refers to such in Matthew 15:8-9, where He said, " This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." KJV
True worship is an attitude that arises from the realization of Who He is. Worship is not about us, about how we feel, or what we 'get' out of it...It's about Him! Before we can worship effectively, we must be born-again, for without it, worship is vain.
One last thought...the woman in our text would say that she was at the very least 'religious' because she had a knowledge of God and that He is to be worshipped...but her religion had not affected her lifestyle. She had no real reason to worship until she had a relationship with Christ. Once she came to the realization of to Whom she was speaking, she 'left her waterpot' and began to proclaim "Come see a man...is this not the Christ!?" I suggest that any profession of faith that does not affect one's lifestyle has no power in it to be a witness.
The song that so effectively reminds us of this truth is The Heart of Worship by Michael W. Smith. It reminds us that at the heart of worship, "...it's all about You, Jesus". Find it, sing it and worship!